We returned for our 5th visit, last was in April '11 and the first was in 2001. First of all, contrary to another review, this place is NOT "broken down". This resort is ranked #6 out 50 resorts in Puerto Plata for the right reasons. Since a large majority of guests are repeaters, it is a foregone conclusion that it is great value for money. When we arrived they had not got us down as repeaters so we did not get any special treatment or room. Our room was spotless and I am very particular regarding cleanliness. I have never seen mold and of course the toilets do not flush as efficiently in these countries. You could have clean sheets every day if you wanted to and there was no shortage of clean towels. The beds are a bit hard but who cares. We did note this time around the TV was a new one with flat screen butwe do not do to watch TV. Repeaters do not get special treatment but the staff do remember you and there is an invitation to a cocktail party where there is an opportunity to win free trip to Ocean World, etc.
All you moaners should know that most of the money you pay for your holiday goes towards your air fare, transfer, departure tax & other taxes (if you are Canadian, I don't know about the other countries package holidays). You could not stay at a resort in Canada, U.S., Europe or U.K. for the price that the resort charges - all inclusive . We have travelled to South America, other parts of Dominican, Mexico, Cuba, Panama & the U.K. and some times we have gone back to the same resorts but the G.V. is the only one where we have returned and still liked it as much as the first time. We have stayed at 5 star resorts which are more luxurious and expensive but are suites, marble floors, bidets, etc that important? At the G.V. they are constantly cleaning the walkways and halls. The staff work very hard & due to the economy they have had to let a lot of staff go.
We stayed at the G.V. the first two weeks of January and met some lovely people. This is very much a family oriented resort but this time we did note that there were more young people that looked to be college age there. There were several weddings with large groups so I think that may have explained it.
The food, and I am a very fuzzy eater, was excellent. They cater for all nationalities. The a la carte restaurants are very good but we ate mainly at the buffet restaurant.
We met some nice people, including two lovely families from Brampton (Ontario), two sisters and their husbands with their seven children who were all very well behaved, a family from Barrie and people from the U.K. - Fred and Noreen (who was the housekeeper for a very famous English novelist) and their friends from Spalding, and Carol & Lee from England.
But who would have thought that we would meet someone from our village in England (where we were both born) - Sue and Stuart who have been staying at the GV for the past 14 years - what a small world. We met a lot of people who have been to the GV for 16 times, 24 times and 28 times. This in itself speaks volumes for the resort. There were also a large number of Finns staying at the resort and we recognized a couple that we had seen there before who were staying for six weeks.
My husband is a football (soccer) supporter and went to watch his team play at Philips's bar which is in the plaza just outside the resort. I was quite happy sitting reading by the pool if it was the afternoon or on the beach if the game was on in the morning.
No need to reserve palpapas on the beach as there are lots. We usually go down to the beach after breakfast (we are early risers) and stay there except going up for lunch - The beach for the G.V. is the best on the complex as it is the only one that is raked. There is a little coral reef in a semi circle near the entrance to the beach and is safe for children and also not bad for snorkelling. For those who like to walk, you can walk both ways on the beach for 30 minutes or so. .
We were not happy with our tour rep this time as she seemed to be only interested in telling guests not to buy jewellery at the plaza or on the beach but just to go to a Canadian woman's store in Puerto Plata. Anyway I was offended by this as I have bought Larimar and Amber and know that it is genuine. I bought a bracelet from Alberto at the Larimar Shop upstairs in the plaza. She seemed miserable all the time unlike the friendly Thompson and First Choice Rep. from the U.K.
Our only negative was the flight home to Toronto. It was a different plane and the seats were really crammed together (we were in economy) and even the club class seats were no larger.